“You’re insatiable,” she concluded. She reached behind her head with both hands to gather her long brown hair and moved the mass onto her left shoulder. I waited for her to continue. Her fingers raked through her tips, occasionally getting lost in knots.
Impatiently I prompted, “And?”
“And nothing.” She glanced up at me mid-rake and then looked back down at her tresses.
The two of us sat in her living room. My pink limbs grateful for air conditioning, I lay splayed out on her red thrifted couch. My shirt felt stuck to my back and my boxers seemed sweaty. The room smelled of cigarette smoke and overcompensatory incense. Books littered the coffee table and spilled out onto the floor and small pieces of an apple’s peel sat on a plate near my feet. She had cut the apple into wedges and nibbled right up to the skin. One wall was adorned with that Indian tapestry that always made me feel claustrophobic. I had pedaled in the August afternoon sun to get her advice.
I silently considered her statement. Was it insatiable of me to feel dissatisfied with E? E, who was nice enough and pretty enough and smart enough? E, who tried to contact me with just the right amount of zeal? Who called my cell phone and in the event of a voicemail greeting left no message? Who just left it at that? E, who kissed with just the right amount of tongue, the right amount of lip, the right amount of teeth? And before her, was I insatiable to reject S? S, with her hand slowly guiding mine to her left breast? S, who literally sang my praises one night? Who felt invested enough in my bad day to do that? There were others, in my mind all dead fish flopping onto their sides one by one to reveal to me the wonderful attributes I had kicked to the curb, hidden in their fleshy insides.
“So you think I should have stayed with E,” I said.
“You need to figure out what it is that you want.” She let go of her hair, seemingly in defeat, and dropped onto her stomach, inching towards me until she could rest her head on my lap. I could see the faint stretch-marks on her inner thighs right above the hem of her shorts. I tried to stroke her hair but my fingers got stuck. “I’ve figured it out, why can’t you?” she mumbled after a while, her cheek pressed against my thigh. She uttered her syllables right onto my body, creating tiny vibrations through my bones.
“You figured it out?”
“Yeah. I found T, didn’t I?”
She sat up. “You sound incredulous!”
“Ooh, ‘incredulous!’” I mocked. I scanned the floor for her Webster’s. It was near the dead potted plant that had hung itself with its own vines. She kept it in the living room as a reminder of Mortality. “Would you get rid of that stupid dead plant already?” She lay back down, facing away from me.
“What’s wrong with T?” Her tone had changed. She reached for a pack of cigarettes on the coffee table and began to open and close the box. “He’s smart, and funny.” We were quiet for a little while and here I imagine she was considering how smart and funny T was. I was doing the opposite.
“I’ve never heard him make a single joke.”
“You don’t even know him!” she said. “You’ve met him once!”
“He doesn’t care about you,” I said without thinking.
“How do you know?” I didn’t know. But as soon as I had said those words, I knew they were true. She tapped the bottom of the cigarette pack against her palm. “Whatever, this isn’t about me. You’re the one who needs psychological help.”
“So what is it that you want?” She pulled a cigarette out of the pack and shifted in my lap to lie on her back. Looking up at me, she placed the cigarette in between her lips. “What do you want?” The unlit cigarette slurred her words and made them sound like they were underwater. I watched the cancer stick shake in slow motion with each word.
We were looking at one another, through one another: she at my little second chin and that one part I always miss shaving, I at the scar near her nose and the stubborn pimple on her left cheek. How many times had we assumed the same position in her living room? We were always careful to avoid pauses, but I took my time now.
“I want to scold someone for smoking,” I started, “and light each one of their cigarettes.” I kept my gaze.
She removed the dangling cigarette from in between her lips. “That’s what you want?” she quietly asked.
“Uh huh.” I redirected my focus to her mouth. I leaned in close until the space between our lips felt like the Bering Strait.
“Okay,” she whispered onto me. She lifted her head, meeting my mouth, and we started shifting on the couch. I moved myself from under her, stepping on the plate of apple peels in the process, and pawed at my left foot as she kissed my lips, my cheek, and that one part I always miss shaving.
“I want to scold someone for smoking,” I started, “and light each one of their cigarettes.” <— adorable!
Vlada and Celine made a pact this summer to write twice a week using prompts. Their attempts will be published here every Monday and Thursday, with prompts posted every Tuesday (Vlada) and Friday (Celine). If either one fails to meet the challenge, she will be subjected to humiliation in the form of a voice recording (sans background music) of any song the punisher wishes which will be posted here on tumblr and on facebook for maximum exposure (and social murder). To find out more, click on the link and follow us.
where i was in bed with Ryan Gosling. We don’t really know each other but it’s late and i decide to stay over just to sleep. But then he turns in bed to face me and leans in and just as he’s about to kiss me MY CELL PHONE RINGS AND WAKES ME UP AND IT’S MY BOSS TELLING ME I HAVE TO COME IN TO WORK EARLIER TODAY.
OMG THAT ASSHOLE
"We don’t really know each other but it’s late and i decide to stay over just to sleep" <— I love the wonderful realism here.
“Because when I read, I don’t really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liqueur until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing brain and heart and coursing on through the veins to the root of each blood vessel.”—Too Loud A Solitude - Bohumil Hrabal
I had the most wonderful sensory experience on the way home tonight. It’s Canada day, so there were fireworks but this story has nothing to do with fireworks. I was in the passenger seat and my contacts were really dry and messed up. I realized that I’ve been wearing the same pair for too long. So I decided that I would take them off in the car and try to survive till I get home and gain access to my glasses.
Without my glasses, all the bright lights of the city (if I recall correctly, yellow, pink, white, green, blue, purple) all became pure light. I’ve walked around without my glasses before but the world sans clear vision never looked like it did tonight. Instead of everything looking fuzzy, there were dazzling clusters of light everywhere. The lights looked tangible, sharpened by the wetness of the dark evening. I couldn’t believe how pretty and colourful everything was. I’m practically blind without my glasses or contact lenses, so I saw none of the ugly buildings or bad fonts on signs or unattractive cars that embellish Toronto. All I saw were lights. I felt drunk. I felt like I was asleep so I started singing out of tune and said silly things with a big silly grin. It put me in a really good mood and I wanted the ride home to never end, because although I couldn’t see the faint fireworks that were supposedly happening in the sky to celebrate the birth of a very young country, I was seeing the accidental fireworks of the dirty (owing to the garbage trucks’ strike) streets. Banal became extraordinary. I turned to my mom to explain this to her and she wanted to take off her glasses too (to see what I see) but she was driving so she couldn’t. So it remained a very private moment, experienced by myself and myself alone.
I wanted to record it, but I realized that it was my personal perception and I can’t directly record that. You can’t share what you perceive without putting it through a medium of a sort — and I seriously thought of how unfortunate that is! I get to interpret it, put it in words, but I could never directly show it to you! I wished I could take a picture of it or film it, but of course you can’t do that from inside of your head. And even if I knew how to use the camera well enough to replicate the effect, the experience would not be the same and it’d just end up being a pretty cool photograph/film. And I don’t think that’s doing it justice.
I wish I could show you what it looked and felt like firsthand, because it was fantastic and extraordinary. The song I’ve attached here (Perfect Disguise by Modest Mouse) sort of resembles what it felt like, but of course it’s not enough. None of this is enough and I hate that I don’t have a camera built inside my head that lets me record wonderful stuff like this.